So what if you want to listen to headphones in this modern HDMI connected world?
There were some old converters, but they only decoded 2.1 sound. Here’s one that decodes 2.1 or 5.1 sound. 2.1 sound is not going to be enough. Most broadcasts these days are 5.1 or 7.1 and most Set Top boxes and BluRay can be dumbed down to 5.1, but probably not 2.1.
HDMI Audio Extractor
UHD TVs are Affordable
UHD TVs, sometimes called 4K TVs are appearing for very affordable prices. With the demise of 3D – no manufacturers are shipping 3D TVs this year – the TV makers had to come up with something to get us to buy another TV.
I was recently shocked to see a 55″ LG UHD TV for $1798 at Walmart. The TV looks awesome. It’s IPS, which means better off-axis viewing. Right next to the LG model is a Samsung model, but it had no price attached. In contrast to the large LG display touting 4K and UHD, the Samsung display had in small letters – 2160p, 240Hz – which is clearly a UHD spec.
There are two remaining problems with UHD that don’t seem to be slowing down manufacturers at all, but should give you pause before you drop your money on these sets:
- There is no content. Of course they will upscale your HD content of any kind. But except for a very few Netflix movies that will stream in UHD, provided you have a UHD Netflix receiver box, there is no content. The BluRay standards group is still arguing about a UHD standard. TechRadar has an interesting summary article. No TV stations have said anything about upgrading. No really affordable UHD camcorders exist, although some video editors like Corel Video Studio Pro – Less than $100 per seat – will edit UHD content.
- The UHD standard is not finalized. It sure would be nice if the standard would finalize before you bought that new TV. For a complete discussion of the entire problem of the UHD standard, watch this TWIT episode of Home Theater Geeks.
What is Available Now?
Video Netcast on Tablet
In early 2011, I made a media PC to watch netcasts on my TV. At the time the system was connected to a plasma display and was running at 1440 resolution. Also at the time, it was perfectly able to play the netcasts from the Twit.tv network, as well as other videos.
Currently the jetway atom PC is connected to my new TV which is full HD and it has been upgraded to Linux Mint 14. Also I’ve noticed that it will no longer play live broadcasts or recorded shows from this site. So what has changed? Continue Reading
Intel Core i7
I’m using two of my computers for, among other things, to edit and convert videos for upload to YouTube. Here’s my channel. One of he machines is an Alienware Aurora R2 I obtained used with Core i5-750, circa Q3 ’09. The other is a system I built from scratch, with a Core i7-2600 circa Q1 ’11.
I’m considering upgrading the older Alienware system to an Ivy Bridge 3770 processor. This upgrade of the processor, motherboard and memory will cost about $550. So the question is: How effective will this upgrade be in increasing Video Conversion performance?
I decided to do some testing to find out whether the two systems that I have are very different in performance before proceeding with the upgrade. When using both systems to edit videos, they perform very well using Corel Video Studio X5  and X6 . The editing process proceeds with no noticeable delays or lags. Any performance issue has to do with how long it takes to convert the video. Continue Reading
Corel VS Box
Corel Video Studio Pro X5 is a great and inexpensive video editing suite for editing and burning both DVDs and BluRay disks.
I’ve been capturing game play footage from video games and wanted to make BluRay disks of that footage to remember and share what it’s like to play some of these games. I captured the game footage with Fraps as full screen on my 1600×900 monitor with sound. Fraps allows you to define a hot key to start and end your video capture, so at anytime while you are playing the game, you can start recording video. Corel VS made it easy to edit the videos, adjust clips, make short video backgrounds for the menus, and then burn the BluRay disks.
While I am making BluRay disks from video game footage, you can use any HD footage from your vacation, kids or whatever. The process is the same.
There are a ton of options, transitions, effects and other things in Corel Video Studio. I don’t use any of those, although I have used the titles. They are easy to apply if you want to use them, and there are tutorials on the Corel site and YouTube to give you more help. Continue Reading
42″ Plasma TV
The Old TV
For about 10 years I’ve had a Fujitsu 42″ Plasma TV and it has been great. I understand that Fujitsu invented plasma technology and back when I bought this TV it was very expensive. The Best. $6000 plus $1400 for a three year extended warranty. The warranty was well spent since the TV died in about 6 months and again at 3 years when it was replaced by a refurbished unit.The plasma TV finally died. On the morning of 31 August the TV would no longer boot. It had worked fine the night before. When it last worked the plasma screen was still bright, showing none of the darkening that plasmas were rumored to show after 10 years. But oh how TVs have changed. Continue Reading
The PS3 died.
While playing a DVD, the machine suddenly stopped. I thought the problem was the BD player, and I disassembled the system, based on information on YouTube, to remove the DVD, which would not eject.
The system would run the BD motor each time it was started, but then stop and beep.
It is not certain that the problem is the BD drive. BD drives are going for about $60 on Ebay, so it seems to make no sense to repair the device. I’ll sell it on Ebay.
Update: The Vizio player was a bust. It had problems with my HDMI switch. The Sony BDP-S590 is a much better choice. I have had no problems with this model.
Here are some details of the Remote Gaming Console idea.
I like to play games, like millions of the rest of us. And I have several machines to do that, unlike many of us. But my career was software engineering, so that’s to be expected.
But I have a problem that millions of the rest of us have too. Gaming laptops don’t work very well for serious gaming, and gaming desktops work great, but are cumbersome to sit next to.
I’d much rather be sitting in my recliner with my 15 inch gaming laptop while I play my MMO, or Black Ops, or whatever, than propped up in an office, or gaming chair, in front of my big screen gaming desktop.